Notes from the Conference

Hyatt Regency St. LouisRandom things that are on my mind at 1:00 am as I’m finishing up day 3 of this 5-day conference…

1. If an agent or editor is walking quickly and purposefully, they’re probably late to a meeting. That’s not the time to grab them and introduce yourself. Standing in the Starbucks line or waiting for an elevator… better.

2. We always appreciate when you mention that you read our blog. Encouragement = good.

3. You don’t have to tell us you’re nervous when you’re about to pitch. Chances are, if you hadn’t mentioned it, we’d never have known. You’re fine, relax.

4. If you’re pitching to an editor or agent and you want them to pay attention, your story better have a strong hook. Find the hook in your story and tell us about it. Ask yourself what you’ll say to guarantee we’re thinking about YOUR project on our flight home.

5. Try not to say you have a quick question — you and I both know there’s no such thing.

6. Keep in mind that if one more person asks us how e-books are affecting the publishing industry, we might just spontaneously implode.

Got any funny or mortifying writers’ conference moments to tell us about?

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  • http://www.charleypearson.com Charley Pearson

    Good points – esp. for 1 a.m. I promise not to ask about e-books unless it’s in person (it would be so cool to see an implosion!). ;)

    • http://www.joannaaislinn.com Joanna Aislinn

      Seeing a human implode–now how would I describe that in my next wip…? ;)

      Enjoy days four and five.

  • http://www.timothyfish.net Timothy Fish

    This I’ve got to see. How are e-books affecting the publishing industry?

  • http://www.catherinejwest.com Cathy West

    ROTFL! :) I’m reading this just before going into my appointment this morning, and I feel so much better. Anyone accost you in the bathroom yet??

  • http://anneslovenotes.blogspot.cm Anne Love

    What advise do you have for a writer who was told by an editor on the very last day of the conference that they need an agent, but its really too late to network with one on the last day. Query with that comment in the query?

  • http://michellehigdonbooks.blogspot.com Michelle

    Good points. Personally, I always prefer the proposal shoved under the bathroom stall door method rather than the accost in the Starbucks line. :-) These are good points to keep in mind and especially witty considering it’s 1 am in the morning! Thanks for always having entertaining posts!

  • http://rmabry.com Richard Mabry

    If they’re walking quickly and purposefully, they might also be on their way to the bathroom–do not follow. Repeat, do not follow.

    • http://www.wordserveliterary.com Barbara Scott

      Richard, you’re a jewel! So true. One time I felt like the pied piper. lol

  • http:karenelange.blogspot.com Karen Lange

    Good to know, appreciate the reminder! I think nerves get to some people and they don’t think through everything before they act. Love Richard’s thought on it too. :)

  • http://heatherhawke.com Heather Hawke

    I went for a walk between sessions. On the way, it began to rain. Not in appropriate footwear, I slipped. Then I had to rush to my critique session, mud beslimed and dripping onto my submission.

  • Eric Dean

    Quick question: How are e-books affecting the publishing industry?

    :D

  • http://www.jamespinnick.com James Pinnick

    I love your advice!

    Very interesting.

    James Pinnick
    Author
    The Last Seven Pages
    http://www.jamespinnick.com

  • http://www.examiner.com/childrens-literature-in-chicago/elizabeth-mackinney Beth MacKinney

    Lol

  • http://MarjiLaine.blogspot.com Marji Laine

    I had a feeling the e-book question would be the hottest topic. The insecurity of the unknown, gee and I bet you don’t have your crystal ball with you either. :)

  • http://esthersdestiny.blogspot.com Sherri

    Congratulations, Rachelle. I just watched the ACFW Gala which was great, and of course, saw you win the award for agent of the year. Lots of hard work behind that!

  • http://giora-china.blogspot.com Giora

    Congrats as well for being Agent of the Year. There are hundred of agents, so your win is impressive.

  • http://www.marilhazlett.com Maril Hazlett

    :) hang in there, and congrats on your award!

  • http://www.andrea-michelle-wood.blogspot.com Andrea Nell

    Mortifying moments … you mean like when I ran over to introduce myself to you on Thursday and called you Rachel instead of Rachelle by mistake? Sorry about that! It was so great to meet you though.

  • Edwina Cowgill

    Congratulations on winning the Agent of the Year Award!

    Love the new blog look, too!

  • http://4broadminds.blogspot.com carol brill

    Hi, not funny or mortifying – just encouragement to newer writers to attend conferences and workshops if you haven’t yet. The energy and encouragement (not to mention writing insights) will recharge and keep you going.

  • http://byline.peterdehaan.name/ Peter DeHaan

    I’m impressed that 3 days into a conference, you are blogging at 1 AM!

  • http://elainecougler.wordpress.com/ Elaine Cougler

    Agent of the year? Very exciting. Congrats, Rachelle.
    I’m going to the Algonkian Niagara conference at the end of October so will certainly follow your points. And I love reading your blog!

  • http://theotherstephenkingonwriting.blogspot.com Stephen King

    Thank you for the insights, as always. These are particularly timely, as I’m attending my first conference week after next. I’ll try not to accost anybody who’s walking quickly and purposefully, though at all my Ph.D. conferences all the professors we wanted to talk to were always already surrounded at the Starbucks line, and elbows are frowned upon among doctoral candidates–I presume the same compunction exists with writers, too.

    I disagree that there’s no such thing as a quick question, though I’ll nod to the wisdom that typically when the label is applied it indicates the opposite.

    Finally, I agree with some of my fellow posters: might be interesting to see how somebody implodes. I mean, there’s not an awful lot of empty space in there. Maybe at the conference I’ll pick an agent (one who doesn’t represent my genre, of course; no point narrowing my own choices) and ask them a few differently-worded questions about the future of e-Books. Then I’ll have a story to tell here. :-)

  • http://www.wordserveliterary.com Barbara Scott

    Rachelle, I was so proud when your name was announced for Agent of the Year. I had already typed a congratulations post to you on Facebook before I heard your name called. All I had to do was click send. Congratulations…again!

    Barb

  • http://www.marredandreformed.blogspot.com Bethany R. Kaczmarek

    Rachelle, I so enjoyed reading this post. Kudos on Agent of the Year. None of us who read your blog regularly (even us lurkers) are surprised. Glad ACFW took notice.

    Keep up the fabulous work encouraging, challenging, and sharpening us.

  • Barbara Cameron

    It’s so typical of the modest person that you are that you mentioned that members of the agency were recognized and didn’t shout, “I was named Agent of the Year” like some others might have done.

    So very happy that you were honored. You richly deserve it!

  • http://www.MelissaMashburn.com Mel’s World with Melissa Mashburn

    This is just great! Thanks so much, it was honest, direct and to the point…perfect! :)

  • http://www.kellihughett.blogspot.com Kelli Hughett

    Rachelle, you knew I had to post this! I’m the poppy seed girl. I pitched to an agent face to face with a poppy seed in my teeth. They asked to see the manuscript, maybe because they hoped I would run off for a mirror check. Congrats on Agent of the year! I’m pretty sure I avoided all faux-pas you mentioned. Maybe you should add, “Check your teeth before an agent meeting…or think of a humiliating way to be remembered.

  • Reba J. Hoffman

    How about almost running over you when out for my morning jog? I’m still wondering what you were listening to in your earbuds. I should have pitched you but I can’t pitch and gasp for air at the same time. :-)

  • http://livingthebodyofchrist.blogspot.com/ Connie Almony

    Oh man! I think I saw you in Starbucks, too … but I was talking to a dear friend, and I’m new to this “stalking agents” thing. Missed that opportunity, because … my compelling hook would have been what you were thinking about on the plane home ;o). Hope your conference was productive. I normally pray for peace, but I have a feeling that would have needed a real miracle for an agent at a writer’s conference. Like sheep among (Christian) wolves :o). God Bless. Oh, and by the way, I read your blog ;o).

  • http://www.camilleeide.com Camille Eide

    Grinning. I had a couple mortifying moments, and lived to tell, because as you know, I am accustomed to learning everything the Hard Way.

    Began my pitch to an editor, asked if she would like to see my one sheet, then rifled through my bag to discover no one sheets. None. Rifling faster thinking, God, You’re totally going to make me wing this from memory after all those prayers that I could get away with the written pitch, aren’t You? I looked at the editor and said, “I think I left my one sheet in the waiting area,” wincing inwardly. She said, “Would you like to go out and get it?” Nodding, I went “Mm hmm.” Smooth. She was totally cool about it. Proof: Editors ARE actually very nice people. :-)

  • Matthew Sheehy

    At the conference I was in the elevator with an editor and two other ladies. One of the ladies pitched the editor. I had never seen an elevator pitch in an elevator! I could clearly see that the editor seemed tired and not interested; the pitcher didn’t. The doors opened for the editor’s floor and she backed out with her hands held out like you would when you didn’t want to turn your back on a vicious dog. And the pitcher kept talking. Then the doors closed with the editor still holding out her hands like it was sign language for “Please leave me alone.” Then the pitcher’s friend said, “I think that was good.”

  • Amy Leigh Simpson

    Not necessarily mortifying, but then again, not a great start. I was heading to the first time orientation meeting on the 18th floor the first day of the conference-Not really knowing where I was going but just following the herd. To get to the room we had to pass through an area where agents and editors were having a reception. As I was passing through, a woman stepped into my path. Thankfully avoiding collision, I halted to let her pass. She stared at me with thinly veiled curiosity and didn’t attempt to move, so I just smiled and said “Hi.” She inspected my name tag and face several times before informing me that I was NOT where I was supposed to be. I think she thought I had snuck in and was trying to pitch to her! I maneuvered the final two steps around her and into the orientation, where I regaled a few nervous newcomers with my blatant faux pas. It seemed to lighten the mood. At least something good came of my embarrassment! Who knew a friendly greeting could get you in trouble?

  • http://www.terrijhaynes.com Terri Haynes

    I know meals are a great time to pass out business cards, but can you not reach across my plate to do it? So rude. The sad part is that happened to me more than once, like home training just went out the window. I should have started biting everyone who did it.

  • http://www.courtneywalsh.typepad.com Courtney Walsh

    The e-book thing makes me laugh because I think I said “I don’t want to hear anymore about e-books” at least three times at the conference! :)

    Congrats on your award, btw!!

  • http://www.janesteen.com Jane Steen

    AHAHAHAHA I asked the e-book question, didn’t I? And nobody imploded.

  • http://www.mypypeline.com/event/description/mple%5F344D701FD96A15AA xtreme no

    I think Snooki is so cute. I might be her man any day of the year.

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